zen

Reflections on a 10-day meditation course

From this article:

“Shortly after starting the session, my mind became as sharp as I’ve ever felt it in my life. I was in complete control of a lucid, concentrated mind.

I became meta aware of this mental clarity. It’s how I imagine it feels to ’wake up’ in the middle of your dreams and control them. I directed my attention away from my body to a random thought. And then brought it right back. Then away. Then back. All by choice.”

Alanis Morissette: “How about them transparent dangling carrots?”

In the third line of her song, Thank You, Alanis Morissette sings, “How about them transparent dangling carrots?” In this article I’ll take a little look at what that line means.

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David Lynch, transcendental meditation proponent

David Lynch (the director, not the realtor I knew in Kentucky) is a big proponent of transcendental meditation (TM). He writes about how he started with it, and about the transcendental meditation technique (with clips from Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, and others). Here’s a YouTube video titled, David Lynch on Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain, and here’s a related Jerry Seinfeld video on TM.

Now at this very moment

Objective judgment, now at this very moment.
Unselfish action, now at this very moment.
Willing acceptance — now at this very moment — of all external events.
That’s all you need.

~ Marcus Aurelius (as seen in the book, The Obstacle is the Way)

When we choose to perform an activity, we make it a gift

“When we choose to perform an activity, we make it a gift by dedicating our entire body-mind to it, by making it the only task we do in that moment. In that way, all activities are included in one, and all activities are unified. This is how our activity fills the universe, and how we express complete understanding in our work.”

(I don’t remember the source of this quote, but it sounds like something Shunryu Suzuki would say.)

Steve Jobs: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon”

In terms of being a nice person, Steve Jobs may have been the worst Buddhist in the history of the world, but he captures the Zen/Buddhist essence in this quote:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Photo from forbes.com, words from Steve Jobs.

The same cosmic forces that mold galaxies, stars, and atoms ...

“The same cosmic forces that mold galaxies, stars, and atoms also mold each moment of self and world. The inner self and outer self are born in the cleft between expansion and contraction. By giving yourself to those forces, you become those forces, and through that you experience a kind of immortality — you live in the breath and pulse of every animal, in the polarization of electrons and protons, in the interplay of the thermal expansion and self-gravity that molds stars, in the interplay of dark matter that holds galaxies together and dark energy that stretches space apart.”

~ Part of a quote from The Science of Enlightenment, How Meditation Works, by Shinzen Young

“Life is like a dream”

When you hear mindfulness people say something like, “Life is like a dream,” one thing they mean is that more than 99.99% of the stuff going on in our minds are thoughts about the past and the future. (Past happiness or regrets, and future hopes and concerns.) Because the only thing that’s real in the present moment is what’s actually happening in *only this moment*, anything that’s outside of this moment is in a strict sense no longer real.

Along this line of thinking I like Eckhart Tolle’s two quotes, “The present moment is all you ever have” — you know that to be true for sure if you’ve ever lost consciousness, not knowing if you’d ever open your eyes again — and, “The whole essence of Zen consists in walking along the razor’s edge of Now.”